Thursday, August 26, 2010

#162 Make Recycled Crayons

Looks like this should be simple - right? Well, yes & no. It's not easy peeling off the paper on some of the crayons and so you end up digging in your thumb nail trying to get it. And if you have weak nails like I do, then you wreck your thumb nails and need to trim them afterwards.

So, basically what you do is peel the paper off of and break up the crayons and put them in some type of container that can go in the oven. I first used a silicone flower container. For the second set I used a mini muffin pan (sprayed with cooking spray). Bake at 275 degrees for 10-15 minutes. You will need to watch and they are done when all crayons have melted all the way. Take out & cool. You can place the container in the freezer to make them cool faster. Then remove cooled crayons.

Now, besides wrecking havoc on my nails, I am not sure how I am really going to get those containers clean. I think the mini-muffin pan can be saved, but I think the flower silicone container will now be a permanent recycled crayon maker.

#161 Make an Alligator Puppet out of Recycled Materials

Here is our take on the alligator puppet that Mom Tried It made. We started with 2 empty mac & cheese containers, some construction paper, glue, a black marker, tape & googly eyes. She made hers a little different, so take a look at hers as well and see if you like how she did hers better. We like googly eyes in our house, so those were a must.

I am a firm believer in not re-creating something that is already done well that currently exists, so please visit her website to see the instructions. But seriously, this is a simple enough project that you can tell how to do it just by looking.

My son loves having his sister try to chomp off his arm. Only a 9 month old would find that hilarious.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

#160 Make Your Own Organic Teething Biscuits

Man! These were so simple & so cheap to make compared to buying the organic teething biscuits in the store. The last box of store bought organic biscuits I bought cost me a little under $2 and I got 12 biscuits. I made 21 biscuits (so, 75% more) for the same price. And all you need is 3 ingredients: whole wheat flour, jar of baby food & maple syrup.

My son loves them! And what I love is that they are not as messy as the store bought ones and they are lasting longer than the store bought ones too. Makes this mama happy!

Organic Teething Biscuits

2 C organic white whole wheat flour
1 jar of organic baby food (applesauce, pear sauce, or apple & banana sauce)
1/2 C organic maple syrup

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium size bowl, mix all ingredients by hand until all ingredients are mixed. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and knead (adding more flour as needed) to create a pliable ball that isn't sticky. Roll out dough to 1/3 inch thick and cut out biscuits. If you don't have circle cookie cutters, you can use a rim of a cup for the larger circle and a plastic bottle cap to cut out the center circle. Or you can always cut them into bars too. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool. They are ready to be eaten as soon as they cool, but will harden even stiffer if you leave them out for 8-12 hours. Store in air tight container and use within 2-3 weeks.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My "Green" Read List

As I am watching "Simpler Steps to a Greener Home" with Danny Seo on a DVD borrow from the library, I thought I would share what books I have recently checked out from the library that are "Green":

Eco Books: by Terry Taylor
Eco Craft: by Susan Wasinger

This is actually the 3rd time I have checked out the Eco Craft book, but I wanted to look through it again because my daughter and I just completed a craft from the book (which I will share with you soon) and I wanted to refresh my memory on what other ideas she had. There are some really great ideas in this book!

I am reading Green Guide for Artists right now and I might just have to go buy this book. She is sharing some wonderful ideas and recipes for creating your own art supplies (even professional).

The books on request that I have yet to obtain are:

Recycled Crafts Box: by Laura Martin

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#159 Dye Your Clothes Naturally

Check in your pantry, you probably have everything you need to dye your clothes. You will need either salt, vinegar, or alum to use as a fixative. And then the berry, spice, vegetable, fruit, grass, root, flower, etc. that you will use to dye your clothes.

My daughter and I took a class on Natural Dyeing at River Bend Nature Center and we dyed my swimsuit cover (which was stained and this covered the stained nicely) using black tea and a cami & pair of socks (using red cabbage). They were also dying items with carrots, but it only dyed items a very pale yellow.

At home we used grass and tumeric to dye items. I placed everything on a white sheet so you could see the color difference better. The tumeric dyed items an orange color. What is strange though is when I put it in the wash it was orange, when I took it out it was bright yellow, and then I hung it on the line to dry and it then turned back to orange. Strange.

The grass dyed items a very pale yellow. The difference is not very noticeable and you could not see the patterns left from the rubber bands (like you can notice on the orange tumeric dyed items). So after talking to my daughter, we decided that we will use the items and try dyeing them with coffee. FYI - for both coffee & tea you do not need a fixative and they seem to absorb the color much more quickly.

What I have noticed it that items are not dyeing a solid color very nicely and it's better to use rubber bands to create patterns so that the inconsistency in color looks like it was done on purpose. Although, my tea dyed swimsuit cover did dye consistently. We'll have to see how to the coffee works.

If you would like to dye your clothes with items from your pantry, yard & gardens, then check out this website for instructions and color ideas.

I plan on using this idea for natural dyeing in combination with another craft to have a Ladies' Craft Night in the future.

#158 Cut Your Kids Hair Yourself

I honestly never thought I would cut my kids' hair, but financial necessity last year didn't offer much of a choice. This was the second time I cut my daughter's hair. This time I gave her a choice if she wanted me to cut her hair or to bring her to a salon (I had a coupon, of course). She wanted me to cut her hair. So, I decided to invest in a better size set of clips for segmenting hair which only cost me a dollar. And I have my own hair scissors & comb (which I bought in college, when I found it financially necessary to ask friends to cut my hair.)

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that illustrate how to cut your kids' hair.

I have to admit that it's a real simple cut. The tricky part is getting her to hold still and keep her head straight so I can cut is straight.

For my son, we are just trimming around his ears. Not sure I am ready cut his whole head as he moves around too much. But we'll see. Right now he likes to twirl the hair on the back of his head as a calming technique, so it would be prudent to buy some clippers at this point.

Anyways, how am I being green? Well, that is easy. I don't have to drive anywhere, so I am saving putting more carbon emissions in the atmosphere. And it's easy to see how I am saving money on the cost of a cut and tip (as well as gas money).

And it's good that I can trim up around my son's ears, because let's face it - boys & men need their haircut so much more often.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#157 Recycled Art Sculpture

This is my daughter's 3D project for her Youth Art entry at the county fair (she & her brother also did some hanging art finger painting with their initials).

We got this idea when we toured a local art center that was featuring art from area students. I can't remember what age the kids were that completed the inspiration pieces (but I think they were 3rd-5th graders). So, I studied it a bit to figure out how we could recreate one of these and here is what I came up with:

* Gather Supplies (small wooden plaque or piece of wood, a wire hanger, an old clean nylon, scissors, zip-tie, wire cutters, drill, liquid starch, paint, paint brushes, newspaper)

* Cut wire hanger on the straight part after it curves for hanging, but before where the twist is

* Drill a hole into the center of the plaque/wood (make sure to match the drill bit to the hanger size)

* Twist hanger into desired shape

* Pull nylon over hanger and trim so that it is not longer than you need

* Dip nylon in liquid starch, squeezing out excess

* Pull nylon over hanger and secure with zip-tie and let dry

* Paint wooden plaque/board/base & let dry

* Stick pointed end of hanger through paper then stick pointed end into base (the newspaper will protect the base while allowing you to paints easily)

* Paint sculpture and let dry, remove newspaper

* Display

My daughter thought her abstract sculpture looked like a dolphin and decided to call it "Princess Dolphin Sculpture".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

#156 Homemade Play-Dough

Making play-dough is so easy. You just use ingredients from out of your pantry and you know it is safe & non-toxic. And you can make as much as you want. We made two different recipes, both are cook recipes.

Basic Play-dough
1 C water
1/2 C salt
food coloring
2 T cooking oil
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 C white flour

Boil water, stir in salt. Add food coloring & mix. Add cooking oil, cream of tartar & flour and stir with spoon until mixed. Knead dough to finish mixing dough to get a consistent color.

Kool-Aid Play-dough
1 C water
1/4 C salt
1 pkg of desired flavor/color of Kool-Aid
1 1/2 T canola oil
1 1/2 C flour

Boil water, stir in salt. Add kool-aid & mix. Add cooking oil & flour and stir with spoon until mixed. Knead dough to finish mixing dough to get a consistent color. This dough will have a pleasant scent.


Other ideas to have fun with your play-dough is to add glitter to it or add essential oils to your basic play-dough to give it a scent.

Make sure to store in an air-tight container and it will keep quite a while.

Exciting New Projects to Come

My daughter and I have been busy working on stuff and will be sharing some new crafts & activities with you soon that include bottle vases, her own sculpture art (which she is entering in the county fair), homemade teething biscuits, and crafts made from records (& possibly the sleeves they came in.) We also made two different types of play-doh yesterday that she had fun playing with using supplies from the pantry. So, stay tuned!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

#155 Make Clothespin Fairies

So, this craft project was inspired by the recent change to our storytime with my daughter, which now involves reading chapter books. We are currently reading a series of 7 books about the Rainbow Fairies. We just finished reading "Fern, the Green Fairy". She absolutely loves these fairies, which makes me proud.

These are pretty simple to make. Start with some clothespins and paint them all your desired flesh color and paint on some eyes, a nose & a mouth. And then all I did was start looking around my craft room to find different materials & mediums to add clothes, hair, jewelry, & adornments to the fairies. And I used some leftover lace with sparkles in it to make the wings. And hot glue and a couple paint brushes were my best friends during this project.

It was easy to do and made a big impact on my daughter. And she has already asked me to make her some more when we start reading the series on the "Jewel Fairies". I told her I would make her one fairy using jewels and she would help me with that one, but we weren't going to make the whole set again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

#154 Create a Fairy House

This was a fun afternoon project that I did with my daughter. She got to use her imagination and it cost us zero money. We made a fairy house/garden and tucked it underneath a lilac bush.

I was looking up ways to make her a fairy house to go with her fairies (see picture above, instructions to come after I finish making the last three) I made her that coordinate with the chapter books we are reading, and found that a true fairy garden is made with all natural materials (no glue, rope, etc.) and it tucked away under a tree, bush, etc to keep hidden and out of sight. So, I figured we would make a "real" fairy house outside in the garden and later (if she really wants one for inside) I can make one for her to play with her fairies in the house.

All I did was choose the location and gather some bark off of some logs. She gathered the rest of the supplies and created the layout for her fairy house. On the right is the living room with couch (made of a large brown leaf that is bent) with feathers to soften it and flower seed pods as pillows and a shell (brought from inside the house) with colored glass (ok, the one non-natural thing we used) to make a foot bath.

In the center of the room are stones to create a table & four chairs. On top of the table is acorn halves for cups, a couple raspberries and some mushrooms for food. And on the right side of the house is a bed made of long grasses and a long leaf for a pillow.

The house & the roof are constructed of tree bark leaning on each other (so a slight wind could probably destroy the whole thing, but then we just build it again.) She decorated the roof with flowers, pinecones, colored glass and colored stones to make the house look pretty for the fairies. And outside the left of the house (not in the picture) she has a large stone "for decoration" and a flag made out of a stick and large sunflower leaf.

And all this cost us was two more mosquito bites for my daughter and one more for me. Darn mosquitoes.

FYI - it's easy enough to figure out how I made the fairies, but I will post information on how I made these when I make the blue, indigo & violet fairies. Yes, we have a rainbow of fairies. ROYGBIV!